The V.I. Raiders had to make yet another coaching change.
Nanaimo’s Canadian Junior Football League team announced that Jerome Erdman has been promoted to head coach after Jeremy Conn was forced to resign due to health reasons.
Erdman was hired on as defensive coordinator this off-season. He is a former CFL player who won a Grey Cup with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and he has also coached at the CFL and university level and with Football B.C.
“He was just the obvious choice [for head coach] and everybody on staff has been very supportive of him,” said Kabel Atwall, Raiders president.
Conn has an eye problem and has been advised that he needs total rest, said Atwall.
“It got to the point where he just couldn’t continue any longer as the coach…” said Atwall. “It’s very unfortunate, because he did a lot of hard work and he laid a good foundation down in terms of moving forward with the football team.”
Conn will continue to be part of the Raiders family and will assist in an advisory capacity, but the team president stressed that Erdman is the head coach, not interim head coach.
Atwall said players supported Erdman’s appointment, and said there should be minimal effect on recruiting.
“I think most [players] are committing to the program, not to a person, and there’s no change in philosophy or anything like that,” the team president said.
Erdman said the circumstances leading to his promotion are unfortunate, but said he’s excited about the challenge ahead.
“The staff that’s been here have done an awesome job and Jeremy’s laid a great foundation,” he said.
Erdman has gotten a chance to become familiar with many players during the throw-around practices in recent months and sees a lot of talent in the skill positions.
“We’ve had quite a few young kids come out and I’ve loved what I see, I love our energy, I love our intensity, the skill set’s pretty good,” he said.
He will tailor his coaching philosophies to fit the player personnel, he said, but in general he likes guys who bring high tempo to the gridiron and who are willing to ‘get after it’ in practice.
He mentioned that as a newcomer to the staff, he doesn’t have any preconceived notions about the players and so the new season is a new start for everyone.
Erdman will remain the team’s defensive coordinator.
The Raiders will hold spring camp May 15-17 at Merle Logan Field and Caledonia Park.